The inauguration of the first programme of Bosco Academy for Skills and Employment with Ministry of Rural Development was held at Province of St. Joseph`s, Hyderabad. The hall was packed to capacity. The function was cruising along smoothly when the Father of Youth decided to let us know that his dreams for the young of this locality were truly being realised. His blessings came in the shape of torrential rain. The first round of training was on with not one single vacant seat left to be filled up.

With Unemployment at 10% and rising it needs courage and vision to take up a massive programme of Skills Training and Employment. That is precisely what Bosco Academy for Skills and Employment has set out to do. When the plans were first unveiled, not a familiar terrain for People`s Action For Rural Awakening – accustomed as it is to taking up struggles for protection and promotion of human rights – we at PARA were sceptical and wondered if the plans were really worth a try. Immersed in its work for justice and constantly called upon to redress grave instances of human rights violations we at PARA were not sure if we would do justice to the task if we take up the programme. Rounds of discussions with the staff dispelled all scepticism and every one embraced the challenge and saw in it a great opportunity for the young people of the region. Konaseema where PARA operates is the most thickly populated region of Andhra Pradesh excluding the district of Hyderabad. It is also the region which is the most literate and with the highest concentration of dalits. These factors have only added to the despondency among the young especially of those belonging to the marginalised communities.

But our invitation to the programme had an over-whelming response. The enthusiasm with which the youth responded to our invitation to look at life with renewed sense of hope is in a way a testimony of their faith in our ability to lead them to a better life. And we realised that our struggles to mold a more just and equal society has not been in vain. The local MLA Sri.Bandaru Satyanandam commenting on the excellent track record of Don Bosco Mission and PARA encouraged the youth to attend the training. The District Officials – Mr.Mahipal, Executive Director, SC Corporation, Ms.Vidyavathi, the Programme Director, Women Development and Child Welfare and Dr.Shyam Prasad, Addl. District Medical and Health Officer expressed their full confidence in the capacity of PARA to deliver on its promises.

Fr.Sudhakar Bellamkonda, the State Director, BASE, Mr. Sudheer, the State Coordinator explained at length how the programme is part of a great National Movement by the Salesians of Don Bosco to empower the youth with skills needed to secure gainful employment and secure future. Fr.E.J Mathew, the Rector of Don Bosco Mission, Sr.Maria Kujur the Director, Don Bosco Convent graced the occasion. Fr.Sebastian, Founder, PARA teamed up with Sr.Maria Manmada, the local coordinator to ensure the successful launch of the training programme.